by Ryan Snyder

Upcoming shows you should check out


Without the drum break from the Winstons’ “Amen, Brother” music “” not simply hip-hop “” would look tragically different. That snappy 4/4 beat almost by itself formed the cornerstone for sample-based music, from early exclusives to NWA’s signature cut to the Stone Roses’ “Fool’s Gold,” which itself helped prime the British rave scene to its peak. But as art begets art, so too did the mighty Chicago soul pioneers The Impressions begot “Amen, Brother.” Its genesis came two-fold: primarily from the Impressions’ absolute classic “We’re A Winner,” a song written and produced by the group’s then-lead singer Curtis Mayfield, but also from the theme to a near-forgotten cinematic gem “Lilies of the Field.” Originally written for the film by Belews Creek, N.C.’s greatest son, Jester Hairston, the uplifting motif was quickly adapted by Mayfield and The Impressions into a centerpiece of their breakthrough album, Keep On Pushing. Outside of Mayfield, The Impressions don’t look too dramatically different than they did in their hey-day. The golden voice of founding member Sam Gooden is still at the front, along with longtime member Fred Cash, and just last year the group released their first single in over 30 years, a remarkably perfect piece of throwback soul called “Rhythm!” on the Daptones’ imprint.

The Impressions’ resurgence will continue this Saturday night with a performance at Reynolds Auditorium as a part of the kind bill of which has become fairly commonplace within that venue this year. They’ll be joined by the Tymes of “So Much In Love” fame, and one of the many, many Drifters splinter groups. Tickets start at $42.50 and show time is 8 p.m.


It speaks volumes to the state of popular country music that a tepid, brainless, mid-tempo cut like Jason Aldean’s “Burnin’ It Down” could crush the Billboard Hot Country chart for the past eight weeks, effectively making it the biggest country hit of the year. The machinery is set up to best serve the butt wigglers and flag wavers “” the Luke Bryans, Brantley Gilberts and Justin Moores “” in the short term. The long term, however, will be owned by the actual best pop country albums: Miranda Lambert’s Platinum and Eric Church’s The Outsiders. The North Carolina-born Church took a shot at the country establishment with his record, effectively more of an arena rock crossover than a true country record (whatever that means in this context). It’s the same establishment that embraced his 2012 ass-kicker Chief and made him a certifiable star, but anti-heroes such as Church are good for business, and he plays the role of its antagonist to the T on The Outsiders. It’s big, it’s brash and it tackles themes that eviscerate the superficiality of modern country. Church’s “Outsiders” tour comes to the Greensboro Coliseum this Saturday night, and it promises to out-scale the surprise barnstormer that was his 2012 “Chief” tour. It helps that he has one of country’s greatest outsiders “” and coincidentally, butt wigglers “” along for the ride in Dwight Yoakam, something that definitely wouldn’t happen for the Aldeans of the world. Tickets start at $25, and the show starts at 7 p.m. with the Brothers Osborne, followed by Dwight Yoakam.


It’s gotten to be rather hard to pin down where bassist extraordinaire Oteil Burbridge has made his name. His earliest work with the jazz fusion jesters Aquarium Rescue Unit occupies a niche for impeccable, but endlessly fun funk, but his 17-year tenure with the Allman Brothers Band might be his most prominent gig, even if that is coming to an end as a whole very soon. Then there’s his gunslinging with Tedeschi-Trucks, Vida Blue, the Zac Brown Band, Herbie Hancock and countless others, but he also has a rather profound connection to the Triad. A few years ago, he popped up on a rock record by guitarist Sam Robinson’s Five Gallon Groove and would sporadically lend his considerable talents to the band’s shows. There’s something to be said for knowing the right people and this Sunday night, Burbridge is leading his own Triad-based band, the Camel City Collective, through a short regional run. Among this band of local all-stars is former Five Gallon Groove contributor Bill Stevens on Hammond B3, guitarist Scott Sawyer and saxophonist Annalise Stalls, along with former Luther Vandross stickman Ivan Hampden. The band is coming to High Rock Outfitters in Lexington this Sunday night to play a selection of originals, but the real fun is going to be in their reimagined covers. Tickets are $15 in advance and $20 at the door, and the show starts at 8 p.m.


Even though he’s one of the preeminent bassists of postmodern and avant-garde jazz, Chris Wood has had his hands full for more than 20 years holding down a groove alongside drummer Billy Martin that can contain the fantastical bouts of weirdness to which Hammond B3 god John Medeski is prone. As Medeski Martin & Wood, the unit has dug out a well-defined niche by skirting the out regions of jazz, convincing festival crowds that they’re a jam band, while also convincing hardcore jazz fans that they’re anything but and making some of the best kids records on the market. But Chris Wood’s muse is a fickle one, and his best work this year has been done alongside his brother Oliver. As the Wood Brothers, their fifth album Muse almost feels like a novelty in an age of overreaching production values in Americana. It’s a stripped-down, highly bluesy affair that is folksy by aesthetic, if not entirely by history. The closest comparison to Oliver’s froggy tenor one might hear is Randy Newman, but their stealthy chord changes and oddball time signatures melt into the album’s structure so fluidly they might as well be singing Woody Guthrie. Check out their cover of Michael Jackson’s “PYT” they provided for The Onion AV Club for evidence of how skillfully they handle complicated material, or see them at the Haw River Ballroom this Thursday night. Tickets are $20 in advance and $22 at the door, and Philly songwriter Chris Kasper opens at 8:00 p.m. !